Thanks to a little thing called the Internet, approximately 150 people in and around Long Beach descended upon the East Village Art District's Basement Lounge last night for a not-so-secret performance by comedian David Cross. Seeing a well-known celebrity in a tiny venue with cheap, stiff drinks is a guaranteed fun way to kill a Wednesday night, but when the star in question is part of an improvisational, one-night-only on-stage interview that included calling The Doors "overrated," that Thursday morning hangover almost feels worth the pounding agony.
Cross was in Long Beach as part of the Lightbulb Mouth Radio Hour, a weekly event hosted by poet Derrick Brown that combines featured authors reading poetry, a short performance by a band, an open mic poetry slam, a Q&A session with an informationist (which was Cross' role) and musical interludes by the Write Bloody House Party 2 Band. The mish-mash of artistic endeavor is presented in a similar manner to late night talk shows if late night talk shows were edgy, funny and entertaining.
The premise for Cross' 45-minute interview was "How to Get Inside of David Cross." The comedian's answers were peppered with hilarious one-liners and stories that elicited loud laughter from the crowd. Before the show began, Brown threw marshmallows at talking audience members because each Lightbulb Mouth Radio Hour is recorded and presented as a podcast and the noise from the crowd interferes with the performance on stage. But with Cross, there was no way to control the volume when the funnyman said, "I remember the cunty cunts," when asked for his memories of living in the state of Georgia. The funnyman also likened the Peach State to "ballpark pizza" before telling a story about the time he attended a Georgian camp for Jews.
"It was me and the other guy," he said.
But compared to Florida, Georgia got off easy. When Brown inquired about the 46-year-old's thoughts about living in the Sunshine State, Cross said Florida was "like a scat film" starring a woman who looked 50, but was probably "30 but rough." He then commented that Florida is akin to eating Fig Newtons from a .99 cent store.
When asked about shady politicians, the never-shy Cross mentioned Rep. Alan Grayson and Sen. Russ Feingold as outspoken politicians who should receive more attention so teenagers could "skateboard to them." Cross later estimated that the Tea Party would not be heard from in six years and wondered about their agenda.
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"No more taxation!," he mockingly said of the Tea Party. "I don't like roads!"
Cross said the weirdest album he'd ever had sex to was something by Chomsky, but changed his response to Sarah McLachlan when he told a story about a girl he was with who claimed she could sing better than the acclaimed singer-songwriter. Cross did a deep-voiced, off-keyed impression of the woman before saying, "Girls shouldn't try to sound like Satchmo."
Brown ended his Q&A session with Cross by asking the comedian to read from his book, I Drink For a Reason. Cross obliged and read from a section detailing t-shirts he'd like to see sold at Urban Outfitters. These included "I Brake For Fucking," "Don't Bother Me, I'm a Pedophile," "I Have to Go to the Bathroom" and "Oklahoma is for Racists."
Any other night, the Americana tunes of Jason Whitton and the first person poems of G. Murray Thomas would have been enough to justify the $7 cover. But last night wasn't any other night.